Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Interbike Ride Event Capping Trade Show Is Back On

For a few years there, the Interbike national bicycle show week in Las Vegas was always capped off by a cool bicycle ride on the Saturday following the trade show's last day on Friday.

The folks at RTC, the local bus and transportation agency, held a Viva Bike Vegas ride that at one time had more than 2,500 riders.

But in 2013, the Viva ride lost more than 25 percent of its riders and RTC lost $117,000 on the event.

So, RTC dropped out.

But the Perimeter Association of America folks from Tucson who put on that cool Tour de Tucson stepped up in 2014 and took over the Viva ride.

Unfortunately, Perimeter could muster only several hundred riders for its event -- even with Zappos chipping in and helping.

So this year, Perimeter pulled out too -- just like the RTC the year before in 2013.

But now, another organization with bicycle ride fund-raising experience has returned to the Las Vegas scene.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is partnering with Interbike for a Sept. 19 ride -- the Saturday after Interbike week ends. Interbike is the presenting sponsor.

It's called, Bike MS: Las Vegas, and participants who pay the ride fee and raise a minimum of $100 get to attend Interbike's Customer Appreciation Day for free on Friday, Sept. 18 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

The Review-Journal broke the news with this story today.

There are two rides -- one is 30 miles and the other is 50 miles. Start time is 7 a.m.

Sign up here to ride the MS event.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Explore North San Diego County

Few places can match the ocean scenery, gently rolling hills and craft beer possibilities than north San Diego County. I write about them for the Review-Journal's travel section.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bicycles and the Movies

There are some classic bicycle movies -- Breaking Away, Pee-wee's Big Adventure and American Flyers.

But here are three well-known movies that are not necessarily known for their bicycles but the bicycle played a huge role in each flick.

1. 40-Year-Old Virgin: Steve Carell uses his bicycle to get to work and crashes one night, to set up the final big scene.

2. Wizard of Oz: Miss Gulch is on her bicycle when Todo pops out of her basket and runs home.

3. ET:

Variety of Bicyclists Rolls Every Monday Night in Vegas

Nothing like a new bicycle ride to see a new side of Las Vegas.

For nearly three years, I biked the roadie circuit in Red Rock Canyon, pedaling a nice Specialized Roubaix road bicycle into the Red Rock foothills and feeling the awe and power from those big red stripes on the mountains.

And for jollies, I would bike a steel-framed, single-speed fattie cruiser -- the Surley Pugsley -- for that rolling party on wheels known as the Blinking Man Ride in downtown Las Vegas twice a year.

But on Monday night I discovered a third great ride to create the Holy Trinity of Las Vegas bicycling -- the weekly Monday night Smash Brothers ride that rolls out from The Beat coffeehouse on East Fremont in downtown.

It featured a stunning array of working man bicyclists from Rich, a white dude with a rolled-up bandana in his waivy hair who was a full-time substitute teacher on a fixie and wearing long purple shorts; Henry, a black guy who lived near Desert Breeze Park, rode a 2002 Trek 1000 (Trek's intro road bike) and worked as a handyman; and Edgar, a Latino in long gray shorts and Vegas Bike Store bicycle jersey while pedaling an upscale Cannondale road bike.

There were probably about 60 in all, mostly riding fixie bikes, but lots of roadies and non-Spandex types on old mountain bikes, too.

Five reasons why I love this ride:

-- Monday. Gets the week off to a flying start and rejuvenates you after the first day of the work week.

-- Night. A big crowd of blinking red lights makes safe to ride at night.

-- Cross-section of bicycles; Fixies, road, single-speed, mountain bikes -- they were all there.

-- East Vegas: Most bicyclists ride the western suburbs, and then the Red Rock Canyon area. This offered a taste and view of the East Vegas grit and working man side of town.

-- No bicyclist left behind: Every several miles, we stopped and re-joined up with our fellow bicyclist. You were never alone on this ride.    

We biked out of downtown to Maryland Parkway, flew down a hill at 30 mph and made a right turn on Washington for a ride through Vegas' working class east side.

These weren't the Summerlin roadies or the Blinking Man rolling bike bash folks. It was a different crowd; An unpretentious crowd of bicycle lovers who were rolling together and had each other's back as we pedaled east.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Time For a Hi Five of Bicycle Links

It's time for my Hi Five -- five bicycle links that grabbed my attention.

1. Even the Tour de France is not immune from gun shots when Paris police fired at a car that broke through a Tour de France barricade. Police are searching for the four car occupants.

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2. God bless those well-intentioned road planners and public works designers, who try and stick bike lanes everywhere. Sometimes, like in this case in Colorado Springs, the bike lane gets a little bit wacky -- and can lead a bicyclist to a potential death.

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3. When you're on a bicycle and you're in the middle of nowhere and  gotta go, well you gotta go. In this case in Idaho, this bicyclist poop job led to a fiery mess.
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4. This country is filled with inspiring stories of overweight people who used a bicycle to change their lives. This fella tips the scales at more than 400 pounds, yet he wanted to bike across the country to change his life. One little problem -- his bike broke down. But a bike shop came through and gave the guy a free bicycle for his trip.

5. Tragically, bicyclists are killed across the country. In this case, a garbage truck killed a bicyclist.

Check Out This Year's Pedal to the Medal Ride -- Oct. 3 at Craig Ranch Regional Park

The Pedal to the Medal fund-raiser bicycle ride is back this fall and the Las Vegas Valley Bicycle Club is the ride's host.

It's a money maker for great causes -- the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Special Olympics Nevada and the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition.

Here's your web site to register and find out more about the Pedal to the Medal: register here

It's Oct. 3, a time of year when the weather gets super nice and there's a variety of distance rides to choose from. The city of North Las Vegas is involved and the start and finish will be at Craig Ranch Regional Park.

Plus, there's a children's bicycle rodeo and great raffle prizes like one girl's bicycle and one's boy bike.

See you there!

Cycling The Las Vegas Alps At Mt. Charleston

Time to climb.

On Sunday morning, I drove to the Spring Mountains visitors center, which is around 6,500 feet in Kyle Canyon.

Then it was off to the Las Vegas ski center, 14 miles away and more than 2,000 feet of climbing.

But the views -- it's worth the grind up on State Road 157.

Peak on 157 was 8,437 feet.

When I finally reached the ski center, I joined some motorcyclists. And then they came -- a bunch of Porsche motorists who felt entitled to take over the entire end of the road because I guess they're special for owning Porsches.

Then it was back to 157 for the ride to the visitors center on Kyle Canyon Road.

And back at the visitors center. Total elevation gain -- 3,470 feet.